Unpopular Opinions: Part II

Lake Geneva, WI. 2020.

I’d like to think that I’ve always been outspoken. But, that simply isn’t true. I’ve worked hard to build the confidence to speak out on what I believe to be right, wrong, or bat-sh*t crazy.

From the kid that often played alone on the playground, to the girl that skipped lunch to avoid eating alone, to the woman that tries her damnedest to ensure others know their worth; a monster was born. Now you can’t get me to stop sharing opinions. Especially unpopular ones.

Continue reading for the second installment of Unpopular Opinions. I’d say I hope you like them, but that’s beside the point.

Others’ behavior has little to do with you. Contrary to popular belief, we cannot “make” another behave any specific way. Whether it be the initial limerence, challenges of commitment, or the devaluing/discard phase of a relationship; how people perceive and react to us is simply a commentary on the inner-workings of their own minds. Someone that treats themselves with patience and grace is more apt to treat others similarly. One who dwells in a mind full of cruelty, defensiveness, and dishonesty will likely project related assumptions onto others. It’s important we stop taking this so personal. Save yourself the turmoil.

Arguments are healthier than resentments. Don’t judge your family, friends, or partners for voicing their dissenting thoughts or emotions. No matter how unpleasant, this form of intimacy has potential to improve all future interactions and establish shared expectations. Comparatively, complicit resentment – no matter how ‘easy’ in the short term – is cancerous. All of the ‘unsaids’ build emotional barriers that breed insecurity and hatred.

Gas station dinners are quite fine. Especially if you have access to a Kwik Trip. This isn’t just for comedic relief. It’s true. Get off your high horse and settle in for a 3:00 am Pepper Jack Tornado (or two).

Being good at your job isn’t that special. Being easy to work with is. “Correctness” isn’t a contagion. It’s all about how effective you are as a coach, an educator, and a leader.

The “American Dream” is working against you. In fear of being deemed ‘anti-success’, ‘anti-work ethic’, or instead of accepting the harsh realities of social laws set in place; many purport that those with immense wealth have earned just that – and the rest of us should just start working harder. Unfortunately, these excuses further support dramatic income disparities that feed upon all but the top 1%. In a capitalistic society, one’s unimaginable wealth requires another’s unimaginable strife. Think about that before you sign another check to Bezos.

Failing is productive. Failing is knowledge, which is far more valuable than the stagnance of indecision. All that matters is how fast we’re willing to fail, how quickly we’re able to recover, and how eager we are to try again.

Order and control are illusions. Bad things happen to good people (and vice versa). Celebrity, security, and morality are all fluid concepts. Once we can embrace this; the less likely we’ll focus on judgments, and the more peace we’ll find.

Resilience is more valuable than happiness. We’ve all seen the Instagram posts that proclaim “happiness isn’t a destination, it’s the journey.” I, for one, can assure you the journey is not always happy. In fact, it isn’t happy pretty damn often. Instead, we have to focus our energy less on predicting and controlling the future (futile per the above); and manage to find a way to move gracefully between our failures. The more loving kindness we offer ourselves, the more we’ll have available for others. In turn, this makes us easier to work with. See? Tying it all together. Could’ve been a Top 8, really.

Being generous with yourself is just as important as being generous with others. Take yourself on a romantic vacation. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner. Bring a book to the beach and wait to watch the sun set. Splurge on all the resort-town excursions you’ve fantasized about. Just as though you’d treat your partner on a major holiday, try doing it for yourself. When you’re reminded of your worth – and the wholeness of your being (spoiler alert) – life gets a whole lot sweeter.

You’re not a project. You’re worthy just as you are. We find comfort in the continued self-help culture because it passively explains to us why we’re not treated the way we want to be. It teaches us that once we fix X trait, we’ll be worthy. It tells us the story that we’re in control of how others treat us, which is easier than the alternative. The cold hard truth: none of us are perfect, and none of us ever will be. Nonetheless, we’re deserving of honesty, love, and loyalty. Now. Don’t settle for any less.

In lieu of a playlist, I’ll recommend a killer self-love album: aurora – Bea Miller. Pour one out for me.

“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate a self-love deficit.”

Eartha Kitt.